Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?

\"RisingWe\’re at the mid-year and we\’re hearing a wide array of distributor and manufacturer performance. Industry forecasters state the market should be around 6% which begs the question, are you above the industry forecast and growing or are you letting \”rising seas lift all?\” In essence, are you generating growth, content with market performance or lagging the market?
And if you are floating with the market, consider:

  • The impact of increases in steel, aluminum and copper.  Are your unit sales higher than last years or are your sales artificially inflated?
  • What about lighting? With continued price erosion, are you selling more units? Closing more projects? Improving your close rate?
  • What about operational costs? Are they growing less than your sales and gross margin growth rate, thereby enabling you to improve your net profit? If not, are you treading water?

Why think about this?

Could your sales and marketing team inhibit your growth?

Yes, it’s a strange question because, aren’t these the departments and people that are supposed to generate, ideally lead, us to growth?
According to a study conducted by Jim Dickie of CSO Insights, sales and marketing challenges can lead to sub-optimal performance.  For some companies this can explain declining or static performance (defined as flat or only market level performance.)  If you want to outperform the market, your sales and marketing teams need to outperform the competition.
Sales Mastery / CSO conducted a survey of sales and marketing executives at the end of 2017.  Respondents shared what they see as barriers within their companies:
\"SalesThe question becomes, are you willing to positively critique your company?  We’re not saying every salesperson needs to be, or will become, an A player in sales or that your marketing department can do everything, flawlessly and the most cost-effectively while anticipating sales, customer and supplier needs. What we are saying is that everyone can be reviewed, opportunities identified and performance-impacting trends (or barriers) noted so that improvement can be made.  The first step to a different tomorrow is a change today.
Or consider it from a 1/3rd perspective.
If you segment your customer base, your salespeople and your activities into segments of 1/3 each, how can you get 1/3rd inside that 1/3rd to incrementally do better? But what do they need to reach the higher level of performance?
In the above chart, the #1 issue is sales manager coaching.  How can this process be improved within your organization, if there is a process? How can it be standardized based upon reviewing how top performers do?

Consider this exercise …
  1. Ask your salespeople what inhibits their performance
  2. Ask marketing what inhibits its performance
  3. Survey the audience about the degree of impact on each issue
  4. Identify top sales performers and your agreed upon marketing successes to identify trends
  5. Promote, and train, to the new processes and expectation.

And the hardest part is honesty.  When you look at the top 4 answers in the chart …

  • Sales management
  • Value proposition
  • Training on communicating ROI (i.e. selling vs relationship and order acceptance)
  • Agreement on strategy … collaboration

The question becomes, for the second half of 2018, do you need a quick reset? Or is this a systemic issue that needs to be addressed as part of your 2019 planning process with a continuous improvement process developed to strengthen the organization?
Not all things can change, but it you leave it to the individuals, can you affect change?

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2 thoughts on “Are Your Sales and Marketing Teams Inhibiting Growth?”

  1. From talking with manufacturers and distributors, I can agree with #6 and 7. CRM seems to take much sales time and there seems to be little ROI many times. Perhaps lack of value for salespeople in the sense that sales management doesn’t know how to manage with the information. I was interested to see how many of these issues relate to sales management and issues with training, managing and coaching salespeople.

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